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The Gulf of Mexico

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About the Author

John S. Sledge is senior architectural historian for the Mobile Historic Development Commission and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and Spanish from Auburn University and a master's in historic preservation from Middle Tennessee State University. Sledge is the author of six previous books, including Southern Bound: A Gulf Coast Journalist on Books, Writers, and Literary Pilgrimages of the Heart; The Mobile River; and These Rugged Days: Alabama in the Civil War.


[T]he history of the entire Gulf Coast presented in this book will undoubtedly help deepen our understanding of the Americas [...] and create an opportunity to reconsider the society and culture that have been formed through the current relationship with Mexico and Cuba.-- "Japanese Journal"

[Sledge] perfects the history of various people who lived through the challenges, both environmentally and manufactured, that defined the history of the Gulf of Mexico. As historians continue to grapple with the vastness of the Gulf of Mexico and its role in the development of cultures and its bearing on historical events, Sledge's work will provide a good compass point for setting directions.-- "Florida Historical Quarterly"

Sledge's work is a pleasurable readhis ability to create narrative and give meaning to the history of environmental, social, and political contests in the Gulf of Mexico gives credence to the need for well-executed, scholarly-sourced, public-facing popular histories.-- "Louisiana History"

John S. Sledge gives a detailed account of the region from the Seminole Indians, its earliest inhabitants, to modern oil workers on rigs far out to sea. The book is well indexed, amply footnoted and has superb historical maps...a more than serviceable history of a region that the author rightly calls 'this beautiful, pocketed sea'.-- "International Affairs"

The Gulf of Mexico is like a stable, comfortable, working pleasure boat, and John Sledge her knowledgeable captain who knows from long experience where the lunkers live. His love for the Gulf and all its wonders, natural and cultural, is apparent. You're going to have a lovely time offshore with him, catch some great stories, and learn a bit while you're at it.-- "Alabama Review"

a valuable resource for anyone who wants to conduct research in or around the Gulf... [John Sledge] ties together several historical elements that reveal the varied and complex history that is the Gulf of Mexico.-- "Sea History Magazine"

is a marvelous and comprehensive description of the Gulf of Mexico.--Mark Lardas "marklardas.com"

Alabamian Sledge, author a number of books on his home region, offering a rare combination of sound history and literate writing, gives us a centuries-spanning look at human activity in the Gulf of Mexico, an inland sea some two-thirds the area of the Mediterranean which is generally overlooked in most histories. He does an excellent job of weaving cultural, economic, social, and political events into a quite readable narrative.-- "The NYMAS Review"

Fascinating insights on the Gulf - geology, ecology, weather and panorama of human interaction - in all its magnificence and fearsome wonder create a book that should be embraced by anyone living on its shores.-- "Lagniappe"

The Gulf basin has never seemed more connected than it does in Sledge's capable hands...The Gulf of Mexico is a thoroughly interesting and engrossing narrative, and one which presents the clearest picture yet painted of the centrality of the Gulf to American history and the shared heritage of the broader basin. The book stands as essential reading for those seeking to learn more about the broad area where its waves lap ashore, and the people who call it home.-- "The Historians Manifesto"

There are many books about specific aspects of the Gulf of Mexico's sprawling history. Considerably less abundant are broad historical overviews, and heretofore completely lacking has been a popular maritime history from dugout canoe to shipping container. The Gulf of Mexico changes that.-- "Alabama Seaport Magazine"

This maritime history of the Gulf fills an important need. The first book to undertake this ambitious topic, The Gulf of Mexico sails into new territory. Sledge embraces a topic that is voluminous and offers a readable work supported by sound research.-- "Southwestern Historical Quarterly"

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